In the second installment of The Beauty Blackout's exhaustive* Multi-Part Review of Victoria Beckham’s collaboration(s) with Estée Lauder, we'll be focusing on the Eye Foils, which were re-released for the recent Fall 2017 Collection.
First thing to establish: the Eye Foils aren’t - at least, technically - ’new’ to this year’s collection. In VB x EL parlance, the Eye Foils are ‘hero products’ (translation: they were the best-selling/most hyped product from the original 2016 collection, and therefore deemed worthy of re-releasing.)
Officially, the only thing that’s changed about the Eye Foils is the packaging, which we agree is a huge improvement. The original Eye Foils were packaged like lip gloss - i.e in a tube with a doe foot applicator attached to the cap. No offence to you lip gloss fans out there but I despise gloss and, just on a purely sub-conscious level, I suspect the packaging killed any interest I had in these the first time round. Also, the glitter factor. The Eye Foils looked downright discoball-glittery and I am NOT a fan of glitter.
Rachel: Lol. You are such a liar.
Emily: No, I swear, I really do hate glitter. Maybe not all glitter, fine. But the discoball, Saturday Night Fever stuff? UGH. Do not want.
Rachel: Shut up, and just admit it - you love the glitter. And to all you glitter-skeptics who are reading this, don’t hide in denial like Emily. Just embrace the glitter.
WARNING: This is a glitter-heavy post.
*NB: our exhaustive efforts to review (and obtain) this collection have also been quite exhausting.
The ‘new’ Eye Foils for this year’s collection come in luxe little glass jars topped with a fluted gold cap. Since neither of us bought the Eye Foils from last year’s release (again, we blame the lip gloss-style packaging), we aren’t able to compare the Eye Foil 1.0 formula to this year’s 2.0 formula.* (If you do happen to own both versions, please let us know the official verdict in the comments section!)
Not gonna lie. As soon as we saw the jar packaging, our first thought was HOLY SH*T. COULD THESE BE LIKE THE TOM FORD CREAM EYESHADOWS EXCEPT, LIKE, ON STEROIDS?!
“Oh my God. Do you think they’re gonna be like the Tom Ford formula?” I asked Rachel breathlessly.
Naturally, Rachel was already on board the exact same train. “Well, Estée Lauder DOES owns Tom Ford so...I think it’s highly possible. We’ll have to buy at least one. For science. Obviously.”
Bullshit. There was no way we were ever going to walk away without buying both Eye Foils. So - for the sake of science - we each purchased both the shades. It was the packaging that made us do it. The jars had an unmistakably Tom Ford-esque vibe and, given that Tom Ford is owned by Estée Lauder (a.k.a. Victoria Beckham’s collaborator), we had to find out how the two formulas stacked up against each other. This brings us to a rather significant fact: Tom Ford’s cream eyeshadows are only, like…..our favourite cream eyeshadow formula ever. In other words, our expectations were totally reasonable.
*Although, we’d put money on the formula having been tweaked just a tad. Gut instinct, what can we say?
The Shades: 01 Burnt Anise & 02 Blonde Gold
To preface this, we just want to be clear - we strongly recommend buying both shades. Don’t just buy one. If you do, well, don’t say we didn’t warn you: you’ll eventually end up hunting the other one down on eBay, and for a truly extortionate sum of money. Save yourself the fiscal pain.
Burnt Anise Eye Foil
Between the two shades, Burnt Anise does have a slight edge over Blonde Gold in terms of texture. It has a smooth, silky gel-like consistency that is easy to work with and can be built up to complete opacity with a flat shader brush. Because of its slightly thicker formula, the glitter in Burnt Anise is far more evenly distributed than the glitter in Blonde Gold. Imagine light dancing upon the inky black surface of an oil slick and the rainbow-like iridescence that’s gone once you blink - and there you have Burnt Anise.
Blonde Gold Eye Foil
With its airy, marshmallow fluff-like texture, Blonde Gold is trickier to work with than Burnt Anise - it calls for a steady hand and a very precise shader brush. But we swear, the final result is more than worth the effort. Once it dries down, Blonde Gold leaves you with glimmering eyelids glazed in filmy sheets of gold leaf. The cool white base lends it an ethereal, almost angelic effect. Quite simply, it is stunning.
Texture & Consistency
Pictured below are both of the Eye Foils from this year’s collection: Burnt Anise (the darker one) and Blonde Gold (the pale one). Rather confusingly, this year’s VB x EL collection also includes an Eye Metal called Blonde Gold. The Eye Metals are a completely different formula, an outstanding one, btw, that we’ll be reviewing next (so stay tuned). However, we do wonder why the VB creative team couldn’t have exercised a little more creativity with product names. Two different Blonde Golds (not to mention one Blonde Mink). Now that’s just plain laziness.
Well, we did tell you that we were fixated on the (totally hypothesised by us) similarities between the VB Eye Foils and Tom Ford’s cream shadows. Below are pictures of the two VB Eye Foils alongside their closest equivalents in the Tom Ford range. For Burnt Anise, Caviar was the obvious pick (they’re both, erm…black). As for Blonde Gold, the only option was Tom Ford's lightest cream shadow, Opale. Yes, Opale is the lightest shade in the TF cream eyeshadow range.
Texture wise, the Eye Foils are very different from Tom Ford’s cream eyeshadow formula. Compared to the densely-whipped, mousse-like consistency that distinguishes Tom Ford’s cream shadows, the VB x EL Eye Foils feel considerably thinner and wetter - more akin to a gel than a cream formula. In the swatches of Blonde Gold in particular, you can see the difference in finish between the two formulas. True to their name, the VB x EL Eye Foils have a textured, foil-like finish altogether different from Tom Ford's satin smooth cream shadows.
Rachel and I have long thought Tom Ford needed to expand his range of cream eyeshadows. So this little comparative exercise only solidified our feelings. How can Opale be the lightest shade he has to offer? Needless to say, we think it’s imperative that the range be expanded ASAP.
In comparison to Blonde Gold, you can see that Opale looks downright dark, and is a coppery peach colour. The difference is slightly less glaringly obvious in the swatches but- we probably don’t need to tell you that these two are not dupes.
Caviar was much closer to Burnt Anise. However, in comparison to Burnt Anise, you can see that Caviar has much warmer undertones, and looks almost chocolate-y brown instead of charcoal grey (which is how it had always appeared to me before).
Application & Removal
The Eye Foils can be applied using either a brush or a finger. (We suggest the former if you prefer precision and/or being able to leave the house with a face that ISN’T generously dusted with random patches of glitter). The key thing to remember with the Eye Foils is that you don’t have much time to work with as the formula sets very quickly - I’d estimate it at about a minute.
For reference, the swatches included in this post were all done on my bare arm - i.e. without any eye primer (I don’t own the stuff anyway). As this formula is very pigmented, two coats were all that was necessary. I recommend using a synthetic brush for laying down the Eye Foils - the Chikuhodo AF-4 and AF-5, which I used to swatch these, are great choices.
In terms of layering, the Eye Foils are the last product you should use on your lids. True to their name, they create a foil-like layer that sort of seals your eye makeup into place. Applying powder eyeshadow on top of the Eye Foils isn’t a great idea as blending anything out is virtually impossible. Once they’ve set, the Eye Foils are extremely difficult to diffuse (although with a little bit of elbow grease, Rachel says it’s possible to buff out the edges. Slightly)
Once the Eye Foils set, they do not budge. Period. No creasing either! However, be warned: you’ll need a heavy-duty biphase remover to remove these at the end of the night. It’s either that or waking up looking like a raccoon. Your choice!
The formula of the Eye Foils is extremely buildable. You have the option of building them up to opacity (this is trickier to do with Blonde Gold) or wearing them sheer as a wash. And, of course, any level of coverage in between. Whichever way you choose to go for, the effect is lovely. My personal preference is to build them up. That's when the magic happens and they really become foils. If you want your eyes to look positively gilded - like a modern day Cleopatra or Nerfertiti - these are for you. It’s easier to wear one shade on its own although it is possible to combine them together for a gorgeous ombré finish. The Eye Foils also make a great topper for powder eyeshadow - particularly a smokey eye - and they have the added bonus of extending the weartime of your eyeshadow. What’s not to love?
When my first VB x EL order arrived in early September, I was so excited to try out the Eye Foils that I decided to wear them - both of them - the very next day. The occasion? Oh, just my 9 a.m. European Union Law seminar. I know. Totally the type of event which calls for full-on, Studio 54 style daytime shimmer. In general, I don’t recommend the Eye Foils for daytime use - and I definitely don’t recommend them for attending the first seminar of your semester length course in European Union Law. You’ll get noticed; I’ll leave the rest for you to infer. My advice: save the Eye Foils for night time - that's when they really shine (literally.) The complexity of the sheen makes the light dance on your lids in the most mesmerising way.
How We Wear Victoria Beckham's Eye Foils
'We' in italics because, honestly....wear these however you like! There generally aren't rules when it comes to makeup, the idea is to have fun. So take these as suggestions, that's all.
The Rachel Way to Foil
While I do love Burnt Anise, I have to admit that I prefer Blonde Gold. Simply for the aforementioned reason that it looks like literal gold leaf. Your eyes WILL look gilded like a freaking cathedral ceiling. In the jar it looks like a white cream- very deceiving; once applied it’s like there’s no base pigment- not much white to be seen, just gold flecks (although the foil is of the white gold variety, not yellow or rose gold). Like magic!
Estée Lauder's website compares the foil to “sparkling pearls" that "look like flecks of gold" and add "a liquid-metal effect."I’d say that’s accurate, and it’s interesting because usually when eyeshadows are described as “metallic” it doesn’t mean that they look like actual flakes of metal that have been painted across your skin. It’s so stunning I refuse to limit it to my mobile lid- it goes up above the socket line and halfway to my eyebrow. Duo-fiber brushes (like the Hakuhodo B125BkSL and J242BkSL) work well but I prefer using a finger to pat the shadow on the lid for maximum impact, and then diffusing the edges. One eye at a time, because once again, once they set you’re stuck.
I have deep-set eyes and wasn’t blessed with the amount of lid space Emily has, so I like to blend a sheer layer of Blonde Gold above my eye socket, and almost wing it out past the outer corner of my eyes, which I find opens up their appearance. After that, a second layer gets patted onto the lid. Blonde Gold may seem a bit tricky to work with at first, but you quickly get the hang of it. My advice is to remember that the Eye Foils aren't meant to provide opaque coverage in a single swipe. Take your time to blend the product out in the area you want it to go and then pat a second layer onto your lids once the first has dried to achieve fuller opacity.
I find Burnt Anise has a more traditional “metallic” look than Blonde Gold. It's a gunmetal-grey with a silvery blue sheen that seems to refract light off the glitter in an absolutely dazzling way. The thicker, more opaque consistency makes Burnt Anise an excellent product for a dramatic smokey eye. I like to pair it with a black kohl eyeliner and some matte grey eyeshadow to add definition to my crease.
The Emily Way to Foil
My favourite way to wear the Eye Foils is with the Black Myrrh Eye Ink (also a VB x EL product, btw). Starting from the outer v of my eyes, I use a duo-fibre brush and blend Black Myrrh about two thirds of the way across my lids, just lightly dabbing it upon the inner third. I like to think I achieve an ombré effect but the jury is still out on that one. Next comes kohl eyeliner. Now, usually, I'm faithful to By Terry's Kohl Terrybly eye pencil in No. 7 Brown Secret (this is a product I quite literally hoard - I have well over a dozen backups, and I live in perpetual fear that it will be discontinued. Sorry for the tangent).
Anyway, I do forego Brown Secret when pairing Black Myrrh with Burnt Anise. Worn together, these two products create such an intensely sooty, charcoal-like effect that only the richest, creamiest, most opaque black eye kohl can do them proper justice. Readers, while the Victoria Beckham Eye Kajal in Black Saffron/Vanille is an excellent product, I would be lying if I didn't tell you that I'd personally reach for one of the By Terry Kohl Terryblys instead - either No. 1 Black Print or No. 11 Holy Black do the trick. By Terry's formula doesn't budge and when you're wearing a smokey eye, you want an eyeliner that can hold up.
After lining my eyes with lashings of Kohl Terrybly - no need to be precise, smudginess works with this look, I like to use a short push brush, usually the Chikuhodo GSN-11, to smoke out the kohl before it sets. I tend to wing it out a bit too and use whatever's left on the brush to smudge on the outer third of my lower lashline.
Enter the Eye Foils. I know - finally. (But really I'm just a very verbose person. The first two steps are easy peasy, two minutes max.) With any cream or liquid formula, I tend to favour using synthetic or duo-fibre brushes because a) they're more practical (aka easier to clean), and b) the bristles spread the product around better without soaking it in the way most natural hair would. For the Eye Foils, which are intensely pigmented and very shimmery, I recommend using a small flat synthetic brush. Starting with Burnt Anise, I pick up just the tiniest blob of product with a small shader brush, and pat lightly onto my eyelids over Black Myrrh, aiming for a smilarly gradated effect. I might stop there but, at this point, why not go all the way? (Usually this is what I tell myself - once you go down the glitter route, you might as well commit). I get out Blonde Gold and, using a precise pointy brush, just paint the inner third of my eyelid, up to just where my tearduct is positioned. To bring the look 'together' I like using a little bit more of Black Myrrh to soften the transition between the two Eye Foils. Black powder shadow works too. Voilà. Done.
No picture of me (well, okay, you have my arm). Instead, you only get to see the most handsome beagle in the world, exercising the discerning sense of taste he’s learned from his mama. (Yep, that would be yours truly. I’ll take credit where it’s due!)
Our recommendation - and it's a shocker……Just buy them both. Seriously. You won’t regret it.